It’s been two weeks since we moved from the beach-house-not-on-the-beach. Putting a house full of furniture and stuff into a house full of furniture and stuff is not for the faint of heart. We have the Salvation Army on speed dial.
Did you ever see the movie, Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation? Jimmy Stewart’s narration of the disastrous events therein played through my head often during Moving Day.
When I left Wilmington on Moving Thursday, the temperature was 88 degrees and it was delightfully sunny. The movers were still loading the truck. Dearly Beloved assured me that I had enough gas to make it home without stopping. He forgot to factor in the additional weight of the yard statuary, frozen food, plants, electronics, jars of coins, and the fat dog that filled every square inch inside.
About 20 miles outside of Charlotte, the Warning light blinked red on my gas gauge. Almost simultaneously, the skies grew dark, the wind picked up, and a driving rain began swirling all the grease, dirt, and bird poop on my windshield. Miss Piggy is afraid of killer windshield wipers, so I tried to use them sparingly, as she had been promoted to front seat status lest she get into the frozen food or be assaulted by an errant garden gnome. (Really, they’re not gnomes, they’re rabbits.)
The rain slowed the traffic–me and 10,000 trucks– to a crawl. The gas gauge light glowed on. I kept inching along, afraid that any attempt to move over two lanes to find a gas station would cause either an accident or road rage. (So, I suppose, would giving out of gas in the middle of the highway.)
Finally I reached a turnoff inside the city limits where I would be able to find my way home without having to get back onto the highway. I stopped at the first gas station I saw. When I got out of the car in my light cotton sweater, wind and icy rain hit me full in the face and whipped my skirt up to my shoulders.
Discarding any plan to fill the tank, I pumped $13 worth of gas in and hurried to get back inside my car. I turned the ignition key and saw that I hadn’t bought enough gas to make the red light go off. The car thermometer registered 41. It would do.
(Cue Jimmy Stewart’s voice: “The temperature had dropped 47 degrees…”)
I turned on the seat warmer and drove home.
Flash flood warnings were crawling on the bottom of the TV screen by the time the moving truck arrived. The guys came inside to see where everything might go. Yeah. So had I.
One of them–Willie– had not brought a jacket and his t-shirt and jeans were already soaked. He was, I’d heard him say earlier, a former high school linebacker with a 19″ neck. I rummaged through the closet and came up with a thick hooded sweatshirt. I thought it was one that said Grandfather Mountain, but when he pulled it past his broad shoulders, I saw that I’d grabbed the wrong one.
This one said, Providence Girls Softball.
I found one of those Totes raincoats that folds up into a little pouch. The thing is easily as wide as a shower curtain and makes a swishing noise when I walk, so I’ve worn it only a couple of times. Nevertheless, Willie donned the coat and swished his way through the move. The coat must have had my scent because Miss Piggy, still blind from her eye surgery, dogged his heels (sorry! 🙂 ) each time he came in.
The wind continued. Branches snapped and fell, scaring the movers, who thought they’d broken something.
The guys finished unloading about 10:30 PM. Willie returned the clothing and they left for their four-hour return trip. DB (who’d arrived about an hour after the moving truck) and I looked around at what could easily have been mistaken for a Goodwill Drop-Off station.
A short time later, the power went out.
The den, master bedroom, kitchen, and bathrooms are now box-free. The other rooms require dexterity to be entered. The term “take a flying leap” has become more literal.